An Architecture of Geometry and Surface
The forthright geometry of architecture and the slow force of nature are the twin elements that inspire my work. Lines and shapes are the compositional building blocks that provide the plan for each painting and the vocabulary I use to affect it. My preference is for a geometry that defines the two-dimensional space around and within a given shape, and with color defining the shape within the depth of the painting.
Complimentary to this rational structure is the surface, which develops organically. The paint I use—encaustic, which is pigment suspended in beeswax—provides a distinct kind of structure allowing me to build up the surface layer by tangible layer. Sometimes my color is translucent, sometimes opaque. There's a structure in this too but it's more organic—an architecture of accretion. Of course, image and surface are inextricably linked, and as I work the surface, I am also developing the image. Because wax is so yielding, my process is to scrape back some of what I have just put down. In one sense I am speeding up the effects of time—the kind of flaking, oxidizing, melting, scratching and eroding that slowly takes place in response to atmospheric and geologic conditions resulting in weathered complexity. Because I move backward and forward, both building up and scraping back in dialog with the work, I create a history in each painting that would not have existed naturally. I think of my work as a distillation of geometry and surface.
Encaustic is particularly suited to my practice. Wax has surprising optical depth, so the history of the work is particularly visible. The discrete layers of wax are fused with heat to create an integrated and archival surface and through this process I direct the "geology" of the painting. It's always a bit of a surprise when the heat hits the wax. I've learned to control the medium, but the subtleties of temperature, of specific pigment in response to the heat, of the distance the torch is from the surface—all affect the work differently. There is a delicacy and mystery to the surface, and yet it's a material that stands up to scraping and to heat while providing the inspiration. There is an underlying sense of structure that I maneuver and manipulate throughout my work. These conditions encourage me to take chances, to push the work. My passion and vision is expressed when acquired techniques and knowledge of the medium allow me to embrace the accident.